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Best review paper on the observational status of black holes?

  1. Aug 28, 2010 #1

    bcrowell

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    Suppose I have to pick one review paper on the observational status of astrophysical black holes. It should:
    -be as up to date as possible
    -be available for free online (preferably on arxiv)
    -cover both supermassive and solar-mass black holes
    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    This one meets most of the criteria, but it's only about Sgr A*: http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.0064

    How about info on upcoming VLBI and x-ray observations of Sgr A*?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2010 #2

    phyzguy

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    Here's a good place to start on this question:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0906.3899
     
  4. Aug 29, 2010 #3

    bcrowell

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    Thanks, phyzguy! That's a cool paper. I hadn't realized that observations of Sgr A* had progressed so far already. They're already at the point where their measurements are starting to probe the spin.

    Maybe I'm just not going to find an all-in-one review paper on both supermassive and solar-mass black holes. Does anyone know of a good review paper on the latter? Is Sgr A* so much easier to work with that attention has shifted completely to it, at least as a probe of strong-field GR?
     
  5. Aug 29, 2010 #4

    phyzguy

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    I saw a talk by Broderick, one of the co-authors of that paper. I remember two important points. He said:

    (1) We will absolutely have VLBI images of SgrA* that will resolve the event horizon within 5 years.
    (2) The only other black hole with an angular size comparable to SgrA* is the one in Centaurus-A. Although it is ~500 times further away than SgrA*, the SMBH in CenA is ~1E9 suns, vs 4E6 suns for SgrA*, so the angular sizes are roughly comparable.

    I don't know much about stellar mass black holes, but a quick calculation says that in order for a stellar mass black hole (say M=40 suns) to subtend the same angular size as SgrA*, it would need to be .08pc away, This is ~20X closer than Alpha Centauri. Thus, it seems like we will not be imaging stellar mass black holes any time soon!
     
  6. Sep 7, 2010 #5
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